Please permit me some space in your daily print to comment on the fatal accident which occurred on the morning of October 15 involving a police vehicle.
Based on footage widely circulated on social media, it appears that neither driver was wearing seat belts. The reality is, none of our Police or emergency response drivers wear seat belts.
It is a known fact that police cars and fire trucks ‘fly’ down our streets at a breakneck pace. This places the occupants at higher risk of being involved in an accident, causing injury or loss of life for themselves as well as innocent bystanders. It, therefore, begs the question, why is it not mandated that they observe the rules of “safety first”. After all, the rest of the world does just that and basic common sense should so guide those in authority who design the rules for the citizenry to follow. The situation is further exacerbated by these very individuals who are on their phones while driving. On Tuesday morning, just around 09:00h while on Sheriff Street, the police convoy transporting prisoners was ‘flying’ southbound in the vicinity of Mae’s School, sirens blaring and lights flashing. The driver of the enclosed van was on his phone. This is a school zone and young children are known to innocently dart across streets. Where was the sense of safety? Other parts of the world mandate a slower speed in school zones. There is also the scenario with Police open-back pick-ups, loaded with armed ranks sitting precariously in the open tray speeding down the road. On Monday night, one such vehicle on the East Bank corridor had three armed ranks sitting in the open tray. The front left headlamp, inclusive of the parking light of that vehicle, was nonfunctional. Again, the average road users are rightly pulled over for these violations while our law enforcement officers continue to do their own thing. Why the hypocrisy? When will innocent Guyanese lives start to matter? Those of us who forget the past are certain to repeat it. In late December a few years ago we had the sad situation where innocent lives were lost on Carifesta Avenue because of a speeding police chase whereby, once again, no seat belts were worn. A few years ago we had two situations involving fire trucks – one in the vicinity of the Harbour Bridge and the other at the Vlissingen Road-Lamaha Street intersection involving a popular businessman. The examples are too many and will continue until such time as good sense intervenes.
I close by imploring the authorities – please hold those who are there to protect and serve to the same standards that they are paid to enforce for the common man. If seatbelts were worn on Tuesday, chances are a few lives could have been saved. Let’s think safety first and enforce the seatbelt rule (for all occupants of these vehicles), no cell phone while driving and also apply common sense while driving. Install tracking devices on Police vehicles so that they can be monitored for speed, etc. It is time to start saving lives and saving some taxpayer dollars which have to be spent to replace State assets unnecessarily.